Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Creative Labs Zen Nano Plus
- Voice and FM radio recording, small and lightweight, easily operated
- Limited storage space, small screen
The player's small size and range of features make it ideal for an active lifestyle but restrict its functionality. Buy this product for its convenient and adaptive design, not for its storage space.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
Creative's matchbox-size Zen Nano Plus is in direct competition with Apple's iPod Shuffle. If you can look beyond the iPod's fashion appeal, the Zen Nano Plus is much more versatile. Creative has crammed as many features as it can into a device about the size of a pack of gum, including FM radio tuning, customisable equalisation and voice recording.
The tiny LCD screen is cluttered and difficult to read at times, and scrolling through a dozen menu icons can be irritating on the tiny screen. The navigation controls are difficult to use at first, but once mastered, they offer incredibly easy, intuitive control of the device, even to the point that the screen is barely needed. Creative's use of a depressible dial to provide menu navigation, radio tuning and skip/fastforward makes operating the Zen Nano Plus instinctive. Transferring music to the Zen Nano Plus from a PC is equally easy, with a simple drag and drop interface to move songs or other files to the player's flash memory.
While the Zen Nano Plus can record voice at the touch of a button, the recordings are of low quality, and the inbuilt microphone has incredibly poor range. The FM radio recording feature is perfectly adequate for capturing radio broadcasts.
The Zen Nano Plus has reasonable sound quality. The custom equalisation is much more useful than the four presets, which have a tendency to make the music sound a lot less clear. The stereo earphones that come with the device are quite basic.
As with many of Creative's range of MP3 players, one of the largest let-downs with the Zen Nano Plus is the lack of supplied rechargeable batteries. On the plus side, a single AAA alkaline battery gives a respectable 15 hours of play.
The Zen Nano Plus is available with 512MB or 1GB of storage. While the Nano may be slightly more expensive than the competition, it makes up for it by delivering a stack of easy-to-use features and control options.
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